The catalogue of the "Age of Chivalry" gives a good description of these items. Starting at Canterbury around 1200 following the murder of Thomas a Beckett, these containers allowed the pilgrim to collect the holy water from Canterbury tinged with the blood of the martyr continuously diluted to ensure it's conservation for later generations.They believed in the miraculous healing properties of the water. The more you believed the better the cure.
There was a huge demand for souvenirs of England's new saint and the ampulla were worn around the owner's necks as talismans as well as proof of pilgrimage. They were soon hung by returning pilgrims for the benefit of neighbours, in churches throughout the land.
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